Are You Too Obsessed With Sleep?
Getting a quality night’s rest is absolutely important. Nobody will contest that. But is it possible to take things a bit too far?
This might sound like a weird question… but some researchers, who took part in a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, are seriously asking the question.
There is now a name for this phenomenon, and it is called Orthosomnia. To restate this, in the most basic terms… there is now a name for an unhealthy obsession with the perceived possibility of unhealthy sleep. While it might sound farfetched, this may be an actual problem for some people, as pointed out in the aforementioned study.
What Is the Real Problem?
According to statistics, 10% of adults in the United States use a wearable fitness/sleep tracking device regularly. But an additional 50% of adults, it is said, would purchase devices that would help them to track their sleep. And while this technology can be helpful, it can also lead to a sort of compulsion, or obsession, where the anxiety that people experience about their quality of sleep may, in fact, be doing more damage than any actual sleeping problems that they may be experiencing.
One big part of this issue is that sleep trackers are not 100% reliable. So some people use them, but get really wrapped up in attempting to perfect their quality of sleep based on information that is not, necessarily, even accurate all of the time.
This can lead to false ideas about what might be causing the problem… which can lead to you stressing about things that don’t necessarily even matter.
The worst-case scenarios here are people who feel like they do sleep well—until they get a sleep tracker. Then, when the sleep tracker informs them of potential sleep disruptions during the night, they begin to question whether or not they are even sleeping well.
So, they might even create a problem where there isn’t one, and will begin to question the quality of their sleep over the effectiveness or accuracy of the sleep tracking device.
In a very real sense, this can turn into a bit of a witch-hunt — where you are convinced that something is wrong, and are trying to fix it, when in fact nothing is wrong, and you are actually doing more harm by trying to fix perceived problems than you were experiencing to begin with.
What Can You Do About It?
We are not trying to say that sleep trackers are bad tech… but it is possible that people are obsessing over them, much like people obsess over a lot of things that are tech and internet related.
If you use a sleep tracker and find yourself stressed about the quality of your sleep, try ditching the technology for a month to see how you feel. Just pay attention to how you feel when you wake up. Do you feel groggy? Do you suffer from daytime fatigue? Does your partner say that you are snoring?
If you are still having problems even after ditching the tech, then it might be time to slowly bring it back. But you should also try to utilize other methods to help with your sleep quality as well. Keeping consistent bed-times, sleeping in the right positions, keeping the temperature low in your room, and drinking plenty of water can also help.
And ironically, avoiding mobile device screens in the hours before hitting the sack can do wonders for giving you a better quality of rest, as these screens have been proven to keep us awake for longer.